Kolkata trams bear pride and history of ancient Kolkata——- truly the tenure from the reign of the English in India till today. Along with all aspects of the inhabitants of the then Kolkata, the trams were the lifeline of the commuters and many others. The first tram was introduced in Kolkata pulled by horses on 24th of February 1873 from Sealdah to Armenian Ghat (via Bow Bazar Street, Dalhousie Square and Strand Road) for the distance of 3.9kms(2.4miles).
On 22nd of December 1880, Calcutta Tramways Company was built to maintain the trams of Kolkata and tram tracks of metre-gauge horse-drawn were laid down on the above-mentioned route. On 1st of November 1880, the day was very memorable for Kolkata for the inauguration of the newly launched vehicle, the trams by cutting the ribbon by the then viceroy of India, Lord Ripon.
After the inauguration of the pride of Kolkata, it could not continue its journey simultaneously and was bound to stop its wend on the 20th of November, 1873 for seven years. On the 1st of November, 1880 the trams of Kolkata put its wheels on the tracks again and stretched its routes like a net. In the year 1882, steam locomotives were used to make run the trams of Kolkata. The year 1900 was very vital for its history for the energization of the tramways and for the transformation of the metre-gauge track to standard-gauge. The electric tram commenced its initial journey from Esplanade to Kidderpore on the 27th of March,1902. Gradually, it drew its tracks through various routes, such as:
(a) On the 14th of June, 1902 the trams of Kolkata inaugurated its route from Esplanade to Kalighat, expanded to Tollygunge, from Esplanade to Belgachhia(via Bidhan Sarani, Shyambazar) and from Esplanade to Sealdah(via B.B.D.Bag and currently M.G.Road) initiated in 1903.
(b) In the year 1904, from Esplanade to Bagbazar(via College Street) started.
(c) In June 1905, from Howrah Station to Bandhaghat commenced, and energization procedure was accomplished.
(d) In the year 1906, two routes were started——(a) from the Bowbazar Jn. to BBD. Bag and (b) from the Ahiritola Jn. to Hatibagan Jn.
(e) In 1908, several other routes were laid—— those were from Esplanade to Shibpur(via G.T.Road), Esplanade to Sealdah Stn.(via Moula Ali Jn.), Moula Ali Jn. to Nonapukur, Wattganj Jn. to J.D.Park Jn.(via Alipur) and Mominpur Jn. to Behala.
And so many routes like those above mentioned saw the face of lights in the subsequent years and on the other hand, few routes were closed due to various reasons. Some of them are stated below:
(a) In October 1970 the Howrah sections were closed.
(b) from 1971 to 1973, Nimtala trackway was closed.
(c) In the year 1980, the pathways on Bentinck Street and Ashutosh Mukherjee Road were closed for the building of the Kolkata Metro and were not revived.
(d) The Sealdah Stn. Terminus and the Sealdah-Lebutala route on Bipin Bihari Ganguli Street were shut down for the making of an overpass.
And there were so many routes were closed within the next few years.
Although their numbers have become less but Trams are still visible in Kolkata. There is a saying that a visit to kolkata will only complete with a Tram car ride.
Image credit: juggadery